This year, three people on the East Cooper staff retired after many years of serving the church.Although they continue to pour out their lives in different ways, we want to celebrate the legacy they created through decades-long service to the local church.
Carl met Buster Brown while they were both students at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1978. After receiving a phone call from Buster in 1994, Carl and his family moved from Tennessee to accept a job as an Administrator at East Cooper Baptist Church. He served on staff in that role and later as Pastoral Care Pastor until his retirement in 2022.
"Throughout my time on staff, I learned the importance of leadership and team-building, which was modeled for us by Buster. I also learned the importance of a loving congregation that supported each other in times of joys and sorrows. My highest honor and privilege has been serving East Cooper these last three decades. I never thought as a farm boy from west-central Missouri, that I would end up serving such a great church in such a beautiful city. I want to thank my wife, Thoma, for her love and support for these 44 wonderful years together and counting." In retirement, Carl continues to care for East Cooper's seniors, who are eighty years old and above. He visits and cares for them as many are slowing down and their church attendance becomes less frequent. "Until the Lord calls me home, I plan to continue caring for others, especially those that I have known for many years. I seek to supplement the ongoing work.
Sharon first attended East Cooper in 1988 and later joined the church staff in 1999. After a brief time on the Finance Team and in the Children's Ministry, Sharon transitioned to the role of Nursery Director and has faithfully served East Cooper families for 24 years. "It is a blessing to work with people who are dedicated to teaching little ones. A highlight during my time on staff was putting on VBS with Steve Tuck for 19 years in a row. Those were long days and nights, but it was a fun time. Also, I enjoy getting to encourage young parents, in a season that is hard, to cherish this time and use the hours they have while they are little to share Christ with them."
Although Sharon is retiring from the role of Nursery Director, she will continue to serve as Preschool Director for Palmetto Christian Academy. "After 24 years of working on Sundays, I am looking forward to worshiping with my husband and family." Sharon also plans to spend time with her granddaughter, Eliza, and use her love of photography as a way to serve families in the church. "I hope to be more freed up to use those other gifts the Lord has given me for Him.
Craig joined the East Cooper staff as a pastor in 1988. For 13 years, he served in several different roles leading education, administration, outreach, and the student ministry. In 2001, Craig, his wife, and two children moved to India to serve as missionaries, where they worked among unreached people groups for 14 years. When they moved back to Mount Pleasant, Craig returned to serving as a pastor until his retirement in 2022.
"A highlight has been seeing our church get excited about unreached people. I was prayerful about sending ourselves as missionaries and asking people from our church to come to lost parts of the world. When Dave Bruner came on as the Missions Pastor, I pulled while he pushed, and we got to mobilize people to some of the least reached parts of the earth. Another highlight is the generational impact of being in the same church for 40 years. These people have become family to me and my wife and kids."
Craig will continue to serve as an elder and volunteer in the church. He and his wife, Raffia, also serve with Families Count, a family restoration ministry for parents seeking permanency with their children. "It's similar to being in the field as a cross cultural, gospel-driven ministry. Alongside caring for aging parents and pouring into our grandkids, we are excited to be coming alongside these Families Count families in retirement."